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Why everyone enjoys West Indies' win

Because they rarely sledge or harbour rancorous feelings towards the opposition

Harsha Bhogle

October 12, 2012

Comments: 178 | Text size: A | A

Darren Sammy soaks up the moment, Sri Lanka v West Indies, final, World Twenty20, Colombo, October 7, 2012
There is a joy that accompanies West Indian cricket that infects those who watch them © Getty Images
Related Links
Players/Officials: Chris Gayle | Brian Lara
Series/Tournaments: ICC World Twenty20
Teams: West Indies

Something very unusual and heart-warming happened in the moments following West Indies' win in the World Twenty20 final in Colombo. The players celebrated like no one else I have seen, but across the world, in countries that played cricket and those that merely followed it, there was an outpouring of joy. It does not happen in sport.

Excuses are found, plots are unearthed, there is much loathing on message boards and in chat rooms, and anger is not unknown among fans. But with West Indies there was the kind of joy we see when a much-loved relative returns. It seems everyone wanted to sing a song and shake a leg. Even my mother-in-law was beaming.

There must be a reason. There must be many, in fact. Every team in our little cricket world is both liked and hated. Often this is because of perception, and the world is ruled more by perception than reality, anyway. And so the Aussies are disliked because they are seen to be cocky and because they sledge, England because they seem to look down on opponents, India because they seem to exercise power so visibly, Pakistan because some of their players seem to straddle the divide between what is acceptable and what isn't.

But West Indies don't seem to present us with a reason to dislike them. They don't even have fast bowlers who snarl and aim to knock your head off.

It could just be that in recent years they have threatened no one. They haven't conquered, they haven't trodden on emotions. They have largely lost, and as I learnt early in my career following India, good-natured teams that lose have all the ingredients needed for popularity. West Indies have no history of ruling others or of going to war. Indeed, if anything, they have emerged out of the darkness of colonisation. They have felt segregation. They have been victims of history.

That might explain their extraordinary popularity in India. My generation didn't see the hardships of foreign rule but felt the last after-effects. We felt a bond across continents and oceans towards black people. I became a fan of Basil D'Oliveira's without ever seeing him play. India supported the African National Congress and didn't play South Africa in a rare appearance in the final of the Davis Cup in 1974. And so it was natural that the generation just before mine, and many others of my age, naturally gravitated towards West Indies. Garry Sobers was a big hero, and in later times so were Viv Richards, Malcolm Marshall and Brian Lara. Racism for this generation was about the white man being rude to the coloured. (That the reverse must also fit the definition wasn't always obvious.)

But those born in the eighties shouldn't have to think like that. The world has embraced multi-culturalism (including South Africa, which did so in the early nineties with great gusto). Black players play for England and South Africa, Asians for Australia, South Africa, England and New Zealand, a white man played Test cricket for West Indies recently. Frankly this generation shouldn't care too much now for a history that once segregated people. So why does it enjoy watching West Indies just as much?

I have asked people and inevitably they say they are drawn to the joy that seems to accompany West Indies' cricket. They seem to play with a smile (Chris Gayle is a colossal modern icon), there is little bad blood around, they don't sledge, and boy, they draw you into their celebration. I find the third of those particularly interesting: West Indies, everyone says, don't sledge, and that seems to strike a chord among people. They are "nice guys", like Roger Federer is, and it is a sentiment, if indeed universally true, that fills me with a lot of joy and hope.

Sledging is still looked down upon. Isn't that wonderful? I have often been intrigued by how an entire group of people, from different islands and sporting different accents (each more alluring than the other) seems to believe in this way of playing cricket.

Mikey Holding laughed it off when I asked him, saying, "We didn't need to", but I couldn't imagine him or Andy Roberts or Joel Garner sledging. Ian Bishop, a successor, and possessor of a much calmer temperament, said it just wasn't done. West Indies seem to accept what happens on a cricket ground, show their disappointment but rarely anger. Lara walked and expected others to do so. When he said "Take my word", in 2006, it seemed much more acceptable than if a cricketer from another team said it.

And they have had wonderful ambassadors. Clive Lloyd, Holding and Bishop are just three of them, but the Caribbean also gave the world the writings of CLR James and the voice and demeanour of Tony Cozier, a universally liked broadcaster. In more recent times, in India, Daren Ganga brought a team from Trinidad and Tobago that played with such verve and élan that even in a tournament like the Champions League Twenty20, they made many friends.

So it could be the laughter that you see ring out all over the stands in the West Indies (Sunil Gavaskar's description of the crowds there in Sunny Days was probably an aberration) and on cricket grounds all over the world.

And it isn't just a Gayle, a Bravo or a Pollard. In the early days of TWI filming cricket in India we had a sound engineer called Collin Oliverre, whose cheerful accent and laughter always filled the production room.

Or it could be a combination of all these factors and those robust calypsos that capture the ethos of cricket in the islands. I hope West Indies win much more because they seem to bring happiness back to cricket. We have too much sledging, too much rancour, sometimes, and then we see these men making all that seem so small and inconsequential.

Yes, that is why we love them - because they play sport the way all of us would secretly love to.

Harsha Bhogle is a commentator, television presenter and writer. His Twitter feed is here

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Posted by athem79 on (October 15, 2012, 13:51 GMT)

Excellent article Harsha . . Wish this is the new beginning. This victory could bring back the WI people to the stadium in all their international matches.

Posted by jay57870 on (October 15, 2012, 10:28 GMT)

(cont) Gilchrist was sent home for aiming too many beamers & indiscipline. Gerry Alexander was the captain. Though Worrell was not there, that diverse WI team included 3 eminent "Sirs" in Sobers, Conrad Hunte & Wes Hall; and the great Rohan Kanhai & Sonny Ramadhin. The Indian side had the wily leg-spinner Subhash Gupte, who married a WI girl & settled in Trinidad, but still came back to play for India until 1961. Curiously the banished Gilchrist was welcomed years later to play for local Indian teams: to "harden" them to face pace bowling! Even Alexander agreed to play under Worrell in that memorable Oz series. Yes, "multi-culturism" was very much alive & kicking back then! WI cricket was on the rise when Worrell retired in 1963. His trusted understudy Sobers took over & soon WI were Test champions. Sadly Sir Frank died young at age 42. They had a memorial service at Westminster Abbey: a rare honour for a true ambassador of cricket! His spirit lives on: Yes, everyone enjoys a WI win!!

Posted by jay57870 on (October 15, 2012, 10:17 GMT)

Harsha - Let's not forget the great Sir Frank Worrell! The pure joy of playing the game, in the true West Indian way, started with him in the post-colonial era. He was their first appointed black captain. What a memorable series it was, the 1960-61 tour of Australia: They gave Worrell & his men a huge ticker-tape farewell in the Melbourne streets! "Extraordinary popularity" indeed, in Oz of all places! WI had finally arrived: as a unified unit of disparate island-nations; and as equals. Until then, it was WI policy to appoint white captains only. Worrell, ever the sportsman, once reprimanded the great Garry Sobers for not "walking"! No more dissent was shown after that by anyone. Sledging did not even exist then. Yes, they had their fast bowlers too who could "knock your head off" as happened sadly with Nari Contractor in the 1961-62 WI tour. Frank was among the first blood donors to help save Nari's life. And then there was the "demonic" Roy Gilchrist in the 1958-59 India tour. TBC

Posted by Sujii on (October 15, 2012, 6:33 GMT)

Harsha - the man am really impressed upon right from the time I started to understand and watch cricket. Excellent write up. thank you Harsha

Posted by vaidyar on (October 15, 2012, 3:09 GMT)

@Wasim Raja - you are not disagreeing with me. Read the last sentence of my comment correctly. My problem is only with Harsha expecting everyone to be nice, jolly and full of smiles when playing cricket and suggesting that the West Indies team then used to be that way. Am saying that kind of a yardstick is unnecessary and meaningless. Even with Aussie sledging, it was all on the field and off the field they were friendly enough. Note that people like S. Waugh used to be happy to let opponents pick his brains on batting, etc. Let's not go around assigning morality to teams. Tomorrow if Australia or Pakistan go into decline, we will still reminisce on the days of Imran, Akram, Waqar, Waugh, Warne, Ponting etc.

Posted by   on (October 15, 2012, 2:26 GMT)

@ vaidyar - I disagree with you. Not sledging does not mean that you be nice to the opposition. Yes they did bowl hard and fast at tailenders and that is how the game should be played. Just because the batsmen were tailenders do you expect them to dish out half volleys or bowl just length balls.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2012, 23:06 GMT)

although we might not have realized but for many cricket fans the feeeling was because it actually felt like "But with West Indies there was the kind of joy we see when a much-loved relative returns." because although windies were the most feared in their days but many from this generation had always wanted to seee them as a cricket superpower having heard of the holdings and the marshalls from our elders , and with this victory everyones dream of having the islanders back became that much more real. It was the relative whom everyone was scared of when he was around but missed the most only after losing him , and NOW HES BACK!!!!

Posted by   on (October 14, 2012, 17:28 GMT)

Thanks Harsha for those kind words.We enjoy making others happy,cricket,athletics whatever, that's our nature.We might not win,but when we do, all those pent up energy just flow out from within.After all,we come from the islands in the sun.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2012, 13:17 GMT)

The world is a beautiful place especially in the West Indies. We may not win all the time but we can party or have fun most times.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2012, 12:42 GMT)

Mr Bhogle,that's a great article mate.As a Jamaican,also a Windies supporter I really agree with every word you've written.Sport should be played very hard....it should also be enjoyed.

Thank you sir

Posted by Capt.Harry on (October 14, 2012, 12:10 GMT)

Great article.. the Caribbean Pirates are back. Let us hope they take this momentum to the test arena.Is there a law against sledging?Something must be done (fines/match bans') to curtail this ungentlemanly conduct in the beautiful game of cricket.Good luck fellow West Indies!

Posted by muski on (October 14, 2012, 3:53 GMT)

Yeah Harsha- We all do love the Calypso win don't we. Lets hope that this world cup win injects the much need interest back into the youngsters in that part of the world.For once, one needs to thank the BCCI for having given the Narines, Pollards,Samuels and Bravos the much need opportunity by way of IPL to help Windies achieve the glory. For the sake of world cricket, lets hope and pray these guys scale greater heights.

Posted by   on (October 13, 2012, 17:47 GMT)

spot on maan!!! they are big fellas with great smile!!!!!. hope that they will do well in test cricket. i would like to see some one like holding at one end and marshall, andy other at other end bowling

Posted by Agila on (October 13, 2012, 15:29 GMT)

The WI team have had one quality since the years of their glory through the yearsl of decline, THEY NEVER SLEDGED! they always played the game with a true spirit of it. That may be the possible reason the whole world was behind them hoping to see them win and they did it.

Posted by   on (October 13, 2012, 14:26 GMT)

I liked the content and direction of the article, but I would like to let the writer know that when he wants to talk about West Indian "ambassadors" he must never forget to mention the greatest ambassador the game has ever known, Sir Frank Worrell, the most influential cricketer to ever walk unto a cricket field. On the matter of sledging, too much us made of this. Let the sledgers sledge. Cricket is not just the greatest team sport but the toughest of games to play. Sledging has its place in making cricket the game it is.

Posted by vaidyar on (October 13, 2012, 14:16 GMT)

Might be the lone person disagreeing here. I wanted the Windies to win and was happy when they did. It was like an uncle coming back, but that uncle has been sick for a while and we thought we might lose him. He is recovering and good to see him laughing. But is he perfect yet? No. Still some way to go, but the signs are encouraging. The thing is we recognise in this uncle the dominance of the 80s and it is good to see him back. There is always the romance we associate with the past. To say that they were much loved then would be forgetting a bit. They wanted to win. Remember Brian Close as some said. Remember the tailenders who's helmetless heads were targeted. Remember Bedi's declaration to save his team. They were ruthless. They had no mercy. The crowds egged them on 'Kill! Kill!'. That's how they played cricket. Forgetting that to call them nice would be assigning morality to the way they played then which is very unnecessary.

Posted by Criktic on (October 13, 2012, 11:02 GMT)

Well said Harsha and I totally agree. Every time there is a tournament I wish that if not Pakistan (my team) than West Indies should win. And if there is a match between Pak and WI, I do not even mind who ever wins. Such a wonderful side it has always been that when they win, everyone is happy. I sincerely wish that they emerge once again as one of the top sides, which they so deserve.

Posted by aswan on (October 13, 2012, 10:49 GMT)

West Indies win in Criket world resembles and give joy to fans as equal to a win by Brazil in football....everybody enjoys......because they are always natural in their game....

Posted by indiasupbangalore on (October 13, 2012, 9:22 GMT)

I read through most of the comments, not much from australia or england fans, which shows that their fans don't like any criticism against them, ahaha anyways loved the article and I am happy that west indies won, in fact the irony is the WI have to thankful to Watson who batted like dream eliminated most of the tough opponents cleared the way for the windies and against them he failed.. not to take anything away from the way WI played the tournament, they bring joy to cricket, and I only hope cricket will survive in the windies against the onslaught of the american games that is becoming really popular there.

Posted by   on (October 13, 2012, 9:01 GMT)

no, but they keep doing that stupid gangman dance though! that puts me right off them! :-(

Posted by a1234s on (October 13, 2012, 7:40 GMT)

@marcio. there is no bias against western countries.

the thing is, everyone loves the underdogs... and that's what WI are right now..

let them win a few more. and people will soon get tired of their antics.

it's just the way things roll.

Posted by Chandrurec5 on (October 13, 2012, 6:24 GMT)

Kudos Harsha. As always the best. No better way to put it. It will not be an exaggeration if one were to write an article titled "Why everyone enjoys Harsha's writing?". The day you bid adieu, i.e., when you put your pen down, that is when you decide to kick the ink bottle, i.e., when you become an ex-commentator/writer, i.e., when you cease to write, i.e., when you are no more a writer, it will be a sad day indeed. This would be an opportune moment to propose the name of Harsha for 'Bharata Ratna".

Posted by   on (October 13, 2012, 5:42 GMT)

Whatdo you mean that an Australian Nash played for West Indies? When Ron Headley the son of arguably the greatest W.I. batsman played for WI in the seventies after fourteen years of county cricket and living in England most of his liffe was he an Englishman? And his son Dean, Mas' George's grandson; is he English. What about Dev Malcolm who started high school in Jamaica, is he a West Indian playing for Pomland. Would you say that if Nash was of mostly West African or Indian descent? 'Memba, JAMAICA'S MOTTO, OUT OF MANY ONE

Posted by moBlue on (October 13, 2012, 4:39 GMT)

@Middlemarch: no matter what you may say, our perception - which is evidently dominant herein - is that the aussies play ugly and the WI didn't, even if both played hard to win when they were world champs...

guess which of the two teams is the more popular/beloved as a result? good luck getting rid of that perception! :) cricket is - ideally - a gentleman's game after all, and a sunil gavaskar - or a brian lara - batted just as well as a steve waugh did, or better, against hostile fast bowling, but guess who is remembered for ugly sledging, despite being a world champion? i love VVS and dravid not just for their spectacular batting but even more for keeping waugh and gang on the field for an entire day 4 - eating humble pie and repeatedly picking the cherry from the ropes with nada to show for it - at the very zenith of their arrogance!!! :)

Posted by moBlue on (October 13, 2012, 4:26 GMT)

i have been lucky enough to have had the privilege of visiting barbados on vacation 3 years ago! man, i have never ever had a more wonderful vacation with a warmer and more friendly, more hospitable and gracious, supremely well educated, smiley, fun-loving, down-to-earth and chill peeps than in barbados!!! i still worship the west indian cricketers of yore, and after visiting barbados, i could see where the overflowing joy of the west indian fans over the decades, thoroughly knowledgeable and passionate about cricket, of course, as you would expect, and the pride of the indomitable king of them all, vivian richards, came from!!! a spectacularly beautiful and truly special people, indeed!!! :) i am from india, by the way, the same as the author...

Posted by Simoc on (October 13, 2012, 4:18 GMT)

WI have had many fine cricketers and while they entertained their last dominant period was based on their excellent fast bowlers and the fact that they often only bowled twelve overs an hour (a rather cynical tactic). It couldn't happen now.

Posted by   on (October 13, 2012, 4:00 GMT)

Well done Harsha. In the Caribbean we really do love our cricket. Its a team sport which gives everyone a chance to show their brilliance. Anyone can be a star. We West Indians love the lime light and love to entertain. We love the spirit of the conquer and yearn for pulling off brilliance like never seen before!

Posted by   on (October 13, 2012, 3:52 GMT)

superb article well said harsha....both srilanka and west indies deserves the trophy...srilanka is much classical side...loved both sides playing the final...but when each srilankan chips fail...deep somewhere inside my heart i cherished every lankan wicket ...loved their comeback not with luck but with a fight

Posted by 2054 on (October 13, 2012, 1:57 GMT)

Indeed a wonderfull article about the cricket team comprising Indians of the West. Perhaps it was only befitting that it took over 100-odd years of Test cricket, before the World witnessed, for the first time ever, a black man, a brown man and a white man, each making a test match century in the same innings of a test match. It was against England in the Carribbean, in the 21st. century when West Indies batsmen Christopher Gayle, Shiv Chandrepaul and Brendan Nash combined to make that piece of World cricketing history. That was the West Indies gift not to the Black race nor the Brown race, nor the White race but instead to the Human race.

Posted by   on (October 13, 2012, 1:28 GMT)

In all my 52 years of watching cricket, I have been a keen follower of westindian cricket - Till a few years back, we all have seen cricket stadiums across the globe getting filled up whenever these colourful cricketers from the caribbean isles go to play - they just bring an aura about them - On the field they were menacing and dangerous - off the field they were cherubic and affable - what a combination of persona??!!!!!!!!! They played cricket in the most straight forward ways thinkable....may be a few minor incidences as the one against India in the summer of 1975 in the westindies when players like Gavaskar/Vishwanath/Mohinder Amarnath/Anshuman Gaekwad and others had to bear the fire of Micheal Holding in yet another bodyline series!!! But then again, even the men affected the most, could have easily forgiven the men responsible for this mayhem and shared a few drinks thereafter...such is the flavour the calypsos bring to their cricket....

Posted by   on (October 13, 2012, 1:25 GMT)

Well... just like Harsha, there are West Indians who are moved by the Indian cricket teams and individual performances of the past; I am disappointed that outside of Asia, Sunnil Gavaskar is not spoken of IMMEDIATELY in the lists that include Chappel(s), Richards, Gower et al. After Sobers, Dev is surely in the list of persons that are considered among the best all-rounders. Presently, West Indian people have great respect for Tendulkar, but go stir crazy thinking how much Sewhag resembles Richards in every way but for the Caribbean swagger which is hard to emulate. I do hope that appreciation for this article spreads across the Indian Ocean and the Caribbean Sea to bond us cricket crazy people together, much like how David Rudder, singer/writer of "rally Around the West Indies" also crooned about how the "... Ganges now meet the Nile..."

Posted by Middlemarch on (October 13, 2012, 1:00 GMT)

Well I like the sentiment in this article, but the facts are a bit askew. The Windies are well liked, but more, in my opinion for their carefree playing, rather than historical or anti-sledging reasons. They are hardly strangers to anger and controversy on the cricket pitch. Past images of sit-ins, refusals to return to the game, wickets being kicked over in frustration, can all be be applied to great Windies teams of the past. And they're not reluctant to use 'rascism' as a reason for decisions going against them. So please don't try and paint the Windies as this good natured, fun loving, kind hearted team - they're not. They as hard nosed as any other team around. But they do have this wonderful sense of seeming to love their cricket...which so many of us admire. It is this, plus the fact that of late they are invariably the underdogs that has garnered them so much support.

Posted by Abhishek2303 on (October 13, 2012, 0:36 GMT)

Good article and some good points. Another reason for the joy for a true cricket fan is the return of WI to the stage of world cricket. My very first cricket memories in mid 80's were of WI dominating the world of cricket and it was really disheartening to see them fade away almost into extinction in the last decade. A cricket fan does not want a test playing nation fade away like that given there are only a handful of cricket playing nations. This win should now stoke the cricket flame in the young WI cricketers to take up cricket and ensure we get more Vivians, Brians and Chriss coming from that part of the world. Go cricket!

Now waiting for NZ to come back (after Martin Crowe's brilliance in the 92 world cup, cant see them fade away like this any more!)

Posted by AncientAstronaut on (October 13, 2012, 0:04 GMT)

That's one well written article; describes exactly why people love West Indies and what all non-West Indians feel about the West Indies team. Well done!

Posted by mgzak on (October 12, 2012, 23:50 GMT)

What do you mean by 'a white man played for West Indies recently'? White people played for WI since they started playing test cricket in 1928. Have you ever heard of Jeffrey Stollmeyer, Gerry Gomez, Denis Atkinson or Geoffrey Greenidge to name a few? Or how about Plum Warner, a Trinidadian who captained the MCC? What you should have said was 'an Australian named Brendan Nash played for WI recently.

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 23:27 GMT)

i think this a wonderful article Harsha you are a true friend of the WI.

Posted by amemberoftheelect23 on (October 12, 2012, 22:09 GMT)

THIS IS BEST WRITTEN ARTICLE EVER!!!! Well done Harsha Bhogle!

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 21:56 GMT)

A wonderfully done piece Mr. Bhogle. I'm a Guyanese West Indian and I'm so proud that you captured a lot of it!!!!!!

Posted by TheOffSpinner on (October 12, 2012, 21:54 GMT)

Brilliant article by Harsha Bhogle. They play the game with a real try-hard, calypso attitude and they play the game as its meant to be played.

Posted by CanuckCricket on (October 12, 2012, 21:36 GMT)

Two fitting teams for the final....and the West Indies have always been a delight. Indian cricket doesn't have that much of following with neutral fans. I always find a lot neutral fans sporting the West Indies or Sri Lankan jerseys. Islanders punching above their weight while playing a style of cricket or brand of cricket that is exciting.

Posted by Khan_Umar on (October 12, 2012, 21:18 GMT)

Well... someone once said When West Indies were Champions, they use to rule the hearts of all the cricket followers all around the world... I beleive they still do!!!

Posted by ymamsa on (October 12, 2012, 21:00 GMT)

I agree with Harsha 110%. For those South Asians who think they love cricket don't have any idea what true love is. We stop watching games if our country falls. But the West Indians don't do that. They love the game like no one else. I am from Pakistan and have played for more than 10 years in the Minnesota Cricket League in Minneapolis, MN, USA. And guess who dedicated their time, energy, and youth to the sport....folks from West Indies...with a few South Asians sprinkled here and there. My hats off to the West Indian cricket team for a job well done and to Sri Lankans for hosting a great tournament.

Posted by S.Jagernath on (October 12, 2012, 20:51 GMT)

Why do Indians love the West Indians?Do they not know of the brutality that Clive Lloyd used against them in the late 1970s?

Posted by sixnout on (October 12, 2012, 20:00 GMT)

@ Marcio on (October 12 2012, 11:55 AM GMT).. There is no question that the West Indies of the golden era had a swagger. There is no question that their bowlers bowled to kill.. There are instances of them losing their cool.. But there were very few instances of the "Mental disintegration" that was so prominent among the Aussies of the 90's and 2000. Maybe one of the reason's there very Ozzies loved beyond their shores in the current team.. Play tough..Play fair...Like Mike Hussey

Posted by Rahulbose on (October 12, 2012, 19:37 GMT)

WI is the second favorite side of every non-WI fan. How could you not enjoy a nation that brings a party spirit to each game? I disagree that their popularity is because they are not seen as a top tier team, or have not won in a while. They were just as popular even when they dominated world cricket.

Posted by BingaGoesBang on (October 12, 2012, 18:44 GMT)

And let's not bring up the population factor. We have just 22 Million, whereas India has 1.2 Billion, Pakistan has 176 Million, and West Indies 39 Million. Don't deny, we do have the most fans following us.

Posted by ThatsJustCricket on (October 12, 2012, 18:36 GMT)

@BingaGoesBang : you will be surprised to know how many people do care about T20. It is mostly the Brits who think cricket is only ever played over 5 days.

Posted by soumik on (October 12, 2012, 18:18 GMT)

"Yes, that is why we love them - because they play sport the way all of us would secretly love to" - Perfect Harsha.So correct.

Posted by HURRICANE.Sehwag on (October 12, 2012, 17:31 GMT)

After reading this article on "The West Indian" way of making people their fans, I feel that the only person in the Indian team to exhibit such a attitude is Virender Sehwag. He just doesn't care about the consequences and always has a smile on his face and has a joke to share. I hope this culture spreads to the rest of the world because it's not always about rivalry and passion, it's about having fun. And seriously, i already mentioned this "warm feeling" thing when West Indies won the T20 WC. I guess i was right!

Posted by ARad on (October 12, 2012, 17:04 GMT)

Has Sambit Bal checked out the documentary FIRE IN BABYLON? Before late 70s, WI played calypso cricket. They had some great players but they were not respected as a team until they became tough and aggressive under Lloyd. While they may not have sledged, they kicked stumps and ran into umpires. The aggression was obvious and while they weren't liked they were RESPECTED. This T20, while fun, is hardly comparable to winning a TEST SERIES against non-minnows away from home which WI have failed to do for several years. Let's admit that this underdog quality has played a lot in why people appreciate this WI team with happy-go-lucky Gayle (whose measured performances in the SF and F are aberrations) as its mascot. IOW, the current WI team are a 'little' team who play 'fun' cricket - THEY HAVE RETURNED TO CALYPSO. In order for WI to be really respected rather than being CONDESCENDED to, they need to start winning tough battles.

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 17:01 GMT)

even as srilankans ....we enjoyed it !! :) they deserved that victory !!

Posted by nidhin.rajan on (October 12, 2012, 16:31 GMT)

Like always a very balanced article from Harsha

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 16:31 GMT)

West Indies victory brings joy in the expectation that this would start their domination of world cricket, like late 70,s and early to mid eighties.

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 16:11 GMT)

Check the footage of Holding bowling to Brian Close

Posted by SasiGladi on (October 12, 2012, 16:07 GMT)

I always felt if it is not India it should be WI to win the cup, though I have not witessed when their greats performing but I listened huge stories about their greatness from my father...He saw Wesley hall in chennai stadium boarding the team bus when stepped on bus its suspension was tested to the core that shows his physic also he said his palms are like buckets...I admire their bowling atleast I witnessed walsh and ambrose perform...For all these 20 years are so Cricket was served with out the escence of WI flavour...now it is there to serve it will be more delicious....I LOVE WI team....

Posted by proteasfan99 on (October 12, 2012, 16:02 GMT)

wonderful....the west Indies brought everyone together and they are truely humble guys...I saw Chris Gayle in the Zimbabwean T20 tournament, the man just loves to have fun. He loves and enjoys what he does and can be a unifier of a team because it just rubs on...talk about the Australians they were champion team but their bullish personallity never made the world love them, everyone wanted them to fall as soon as they went up...the only player that was a true gentlemen from Australia was Brett Lee...watched his interviews and how polite he was to the batsmen...would quickly run down towards the batsman in horror after hitting them on the helmet with a 155km/h delivery...

Posted by Mahesh4811 on (October 12, 2012, 15:55 GMT)

"I hope West Indies win much more because they seem to bring happiness back to cricket." <3

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 15:55 GMT)

nice article.......i would have to agree

Posted by nix_moviefreak on (October 12, 2012, 15:46 GMT)

@Anantharaman Rangan:completely agree with you on Malinga.that guy is one of the nicest most successful pace bowlers of all time.. However sanga cleverly sledges during the match and get away with it..sometimes he gets dose of his own medicine by some other brilliant player like Ajmal or Younus Khan. If u have any doubts regarding my comment you can check on youtube.And what dilshan and randiv tried to prevent sehwag from getting century clearly doesn't indicate that Sl is a bunch of "NICE" players. Still I had tears of joy for WI winning and tears of sorrow for any asian team not winning the WC.

Posted by riffy on (October 12, 2012, 15:45 GMT)

Awesome article Harsha, proud to be a West Indian and an avid cricket lover..........

Posted by ultrasnow on (October 12, 2012, 15:35 GMT)

Indian fan here. I guess there's a lesson in this for all of us. About attitudes, respect and being humble in both victory and defeat. What use is a victory if a lot of people just don't like your being brash, arrogant and rude? A type of victory at any cost? A sports team ( and even a board ) needs to see the larger picture. They represent the people, their country and culture. Bravo West Indies. I'm sure it feels awesome to be liked and loved by all and sundry. Not many are as fortunate - because they really do not deserve that love and affection.

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 15:18 GMT)

Yes it think most of the indians supported the west indirs in final...dont know but they supported.....west indies truely have won the hearts of many people ..... west indies u rock.......lets see the gangnam style...op op ....

Posted by unbiasedfan on (October 12, 2012, 14:54 GMT)

West Indies are the Brazil of cricket. They are everyone's favorite team after their own home team and its because like the Brazilians they play beautiful cricket (that's when everything falls into place) and their sunny attitude easily rubs off on those watching them. Hope they continue to do well.

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 14:50 GMT)

Brilliant article, best I've read on this site in ages. Summarizes very well just why everyone loves the West Indies.

Posted by jpaul211 on (October 12, 2012, 14:44 GMT)

Why do we enjoy WI playing and winning? Simple. they play like a bunch of happy kids. You do not see them going around like proud peacocks. Their enjoyment of game is contagious. They are skilled and have killer instinct.

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 14:42 GMT)

The West Indies, over the years, have brought a sense of unbridled freedom to the game and have endeared to the hearts of countless fans..... The calyspso beats have spawned an array of icons who are revered - fabulous article by Harsha

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 14:24 GMT)

Actually With WI win there is a hope Than Hate .....My Generation has often heard about great WI team but see a pathetic team. so I always wanted to see the dominant force that could challenge the world and regain the lost glory .

man, it is like a Bollywood movie and we sure will love it .

Posted by dinuhebbar on (October 12, 2012, 14:09 GMT)

Thanx Harsha....wonderful piece to read on. Could experience the feeling while reading it.

Posted by rameshkan on (October 12, 2012, 14:03 GMT)

Harsha, u have hit the nail on the head! Having grown up like u in the seventys and eighties I always took the side of west Indies when they played teams other than India. Even when India played them, when we lost, i didn't feel as morose as i would when we lost against other teams.Like u have said it is the joy they bring to the game that enthralls us all.The high fives were introduced in cricket by them. Windies, we love to see u winning!

Posted by OmanBiek on (October 12, 2012, 14:00 GMT)

Mike Findlay and Courtney Walsh come to mind when I read this piece.

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 13:55 GMT)

By the time the T20 final between West Indies and Sri Lanka ended and the mad celebrations took place on the field, ironically besides #WIchamps another word became the trending topic #Gangnam.

Never before in the world of cricket and I doubt any sports, did the post match celebrations exubed so much inhibited entertainment. To some the post match celebrations were more entertaining then the match itself thanks to the extempore dacing performance of WI team esp one Mr Chris Gyale, who stuck to his words and danced like a Naked baby in a china shop - Infact his Gangnam imitation was by far his best performance, in the entire match.

The Jamboree witnessed at Comombo yesterday, even left the home crowd awestuck, and to some the free Gangnam show, by the relieved West Indies team, kind of abated the disappointment of loosing badly. For a neutral, the game and the ending, could not have been better. The match had all the masala, deservingly fitting for a T20 finale. The match starte

Posted by InnocentGuy on (October 12, 2012, 13:45 GMT)

@People who are confused by the racism connect, Harsha says those days are over and while in the 60s/70s it may have made sense to think that it is because of racial abuse that the cricketing world found itself liking the West Indies, it is certainly not the case now - fans like the West Indies purely because of the joy they bring to the sport.

Posted by Haleos on (October 12, 2012, 13:39 GMT)

@nantharaman Rangan - SL players may not sledge but they are hardly gentleman that WI players are. You can see the face of Jaya when he is loosing. Also the way he hide behind Sanga for the benefit of not getting fined/banned for slow over rate was unprofessional and ungamely.

Posted by maccabees on (October 12, 2012, 13:39 GMT)

Harsha, what a wonderful, heartfelt article. Couldn't help but become teary-eyed. You are spot on, the Windies play the game lake a sport, not as a war. There is no confrontation with opposing players with a few minor exceptions. They take defeat humbly and respectfully. These are reasons why the WORLD love them.

Posted by Haleos on (October 12, 2012, 13:38 GMT)

Plus their fans are well mannered unlike the others.

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 13:36 GMT)

Besides the factors which Harsha Bhogle pointed out, I feel another factor really helped them to get so many fans after winning. People (the real cricket lovers) are now hopeful of a WI resurgence. Hope this victory gives them the confidence in ODI and slowly in tests also.

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 13:35 GMT)

a fantastic piece of writing!! Harsha at his best as always....loved Mike Holding's statement that they didnt need to sledge :).....how true! when someone is bowling at 150 kmph & you're standing there shivering, the bowler doesnt need to worry about sledging because he has already got you on an edge!!

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 13:35 GMT)

@mm71: Its true Cricket still has a massive following but like you mentioned is mainly because of the whole of South Asia population which instantly comes to almost 1/4 of the worlds population but doesn't at all make Cricket a 'global' sport. Sports like Tennis, Golf and Rugby have very massive followings but the important thing about these sports is that 'many' countries if not almost all play these sports at the TOP LEVEL unlike Cricket unfortunately. Examples USA 300 million don't like Cricket, China 1.3 billion same, apart from UK, the rest of Europe are not Cricket fans same with Africa and South America so yeah I think you may be bothered at least by these countries. You said the population of these 7 countries don't follow anything else? well my friend I'm an Aussie and although Cricket may be a very popular summer sport in Australia its still not our most popular sport because our most popular sport is Aussie Rules same with New Zealand with their Rugby.

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 13:31 GMT)

After the great teams upto the 70's it was really painful to see the team disintegrate and lose to everyone. Just before the semi's I was the only one among my friends rooting for west Indies. Not that they appeared the best. Just wished them to become a strong team again. Happy they won. Nice write up.

Posted by Mitcher on (October 12, 2012, 13:31 GMT)

No team in world cricket 'doesn't' sledge. Some do it more than others. Australia do it proudly. India moan about it; do it; then moan about it again...

Posted by ProdigyA on (October 12, 2012, 13:29 GMT)

If its not India then its West India.

Posted by Haleos on (October 12, 2012, 13:19 GMT)

Plus their fans are well mannered unlike the others.

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 13:15 GMT)

loved the article... nicely written..... well done Harsha

Posted by cric_follower on (October 12, 2012, 13:07 GMT)

...because cricket needs them right now. We need zimbabwe, Ireland and Bangladesh to grow up also. We need some real competition in cricket. Not one side matches among the top 6.

Posted by wordjunkie on (October 12, 2012, 12:59 GMT)

Great article, I am a West Indian and I enjoyed our victory. If we were to lose I didn't mind losing to the Lankans, they too play the game in a dignified manner.

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 12:46 GMT)

I really love the discipline and joy that Windies & Sri lanka have in the cricketing field. Thats typical of greats like Kumar Sangakkarra, Dravid, Tendulkar, Hashim Amla. Typical winners. Keep it up

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 12:44 GMT)

Harsha... I have heard you and read many times... this is one of best.. I do agree with you ...i was overjoyed when west indies won..

Posted by raghavan88 on (October 12, 2012, 12:40 GMT)

Well-written,Harsha.No matter which team's fan one may be,you just cannot hate West Indies.You don't mind losing to them and you feel for them when they lose.They play cricket with a certain flair and passion within the spirit of the game.As champions they redefined the game.Now,as with many others I hope they are finally back on track,atleast in ODIs n T20s.The IPL has really helped them build a good limited overs side.

Posted by VinodGupte on (October 12, 2012, 12:37 GMT)

well done, HB. i have always liked WI cricket and i was happy to see WI win. we want more gayles, sammys and narines.

btw, HB does not seem to have any enemies. i have decided to use "he was such a good man that he had as many enemies as harsha bhogle" to describe a popular personality in my conversations.

Posted by I-Like-Cricket on (October 12, 2012, 12:31 GMT)

@mm71, actually Vanuatu do play cricket, weren't they in the U19 WC?

Posted by stormy16 on (October 12, 2012, 12:00 GMT)

Not everyone Harsha - SL's for example didnt enjoy this one bit. Get your point that the Windies are a team like no other. I think part of the reason is because they made the game 'funky' as we saw with that dancing. Even in the past, the 'high fives (or tens)' is really a Winides invention as far as I am aware. I also think they brough 'flair' to what was once proper game played by the rule book. Even fielding was something the Windies gave to the game and I am sure there were many good fielders in the old days but the Windies added something. Anyone recall Gus Logie? Well he wasnt the greatest batter but he did things on the field that were just fantastic. And of course the non-sledging while they were winning is almost alien these days. Probably why folks never associate with Australia despite being such a great team for so long. Ironic SL doesnt get a mention - probably the most humble team who keep appearing in finals.

Posted by sramabadran on (October 12, 2012, 11:57 GMT)

Harsha, they live _life_ the way we all secretly want to. King size and to the full.

Not just how they play cricket.

Posted by Marcio on (October 12, 2012, 11:55 GMT)

A little too sentimentaL for my liking. I recall Michael Holding breaking down and crying when the umpire said "not out", the arrogance of Viv Richards, the snarl of Andy roberts; and Colin Croft shoulder charging an umpire while running into bowl in NZ, because he didn't give a batsman out. I'm afraid it has to be admited that sub-continent media and people have a great anti-western bias, and they hate it when white people beat them - but don't feel the same angst when it is the WI - thus the rose coloured glasses. It's all over the social media in the sub-continent, I'm afraid, and we all know it. I wonder if Shane Watson did a dance on the field as his team was about to beat India, how it would go down in India? He would get a media and public hiding! And obviously nobody read Bumble's tweet as Warner came out to bat in the semi. He wrote Warner was getting an real earful from the WI players. So they can give as good as they get. Some double standards happening here, I'm afraid.

Posted by jagatr on (October 12, 2012, 11:48 GMT)

@Anantharaman Rangan - SL dont sledge? Seriously! Ranatunga must be adjusting his halo...

Posted by doyya on (October 12, 2012, 11:45 GMT)

it was just a bad day of sri lankans,this happened in four world cups for them now (2007 world cup final vs AUS , 2009 T20 world cup final vs PAK , 2011 world cup final vs IND )this is the fourth time,as a Sri Lankan i am proud of Sanga & Mahela ,They brought us final 4 times now,they gave their best with captaincies,they r the best in world in any format.my congratz for WI,but certainly they were not the best,it was just a bad day of Lions.

Posted by mgr125128 on (October 12, 2012, 11:38 GMT)

In 80s upto late 90s , even India was loved team (except Pakistanis). The reason was India had mild mannered but talented players who performed individually but did won hardly much except rare victories . Thats whn stronger teams were all praise for them because they gave good fight but did not have aggressiveness and arrogance of winners. Critics criticized this lack of aggressiveness as root cause for not bieng successful. Slowly BCCI raised the money potential in cricket and started growing money on trees. Infrastructure improved and players confidence grew and new generation became the no quarter asked quarter given type of players (ex Bhaji , Ganguly, Yuvi, Kohli) who played game in same spirit opposition. Suddenly when the mild mannered team began to snap back ,the countries like Aus/Eng started disliking it because their supremacy was eroding. Neighbors such as SL/Pak were overcome by jealousy seeing progress made by BCCI in terma of clout at ICC.

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 11:36 GMT)

I like them because of their free spirit. It reminds me of football. They don't take their game with the seriousness that might say the fate of the universe lies in their victories, as almost all cricketing nations do. They have fun. They hit sixes. They laugh. They got bowled over cheapily. They laugh it off. They get in a pressure situation, they try to make the best of it. If it comes off they do the gangam. If it doesn't they shrug it off and move on.

They have swagger!

Posted by RogerC on (October 12, 2012, 11:35 GMT)

West Indians never sledge, never intimidate... Tell that to Bishan Bedi and team who toured WI in 1976.

Posted by satanswish on (October 12, 2012, 11:17 GMT)

I didn't cry when Sunny Gavaskar retired but I did when Brian Lara retired. Such is the affection WI offers to the world cricket. Fantastic article Harsha!!

Posted by sportofpain on (October 12, 2012, 11:16 GMT)

I love the West Indian cricketers because of the manner in which they play and for their essential simplicity. When Darren Sammy speaks you just love the guy - he is so sincere and endearing! West Indies also brought to the world a brand of cricket that most of us could only gape at in awe. I remember watching Mali (RIP) deliver those thunderbolts at Chepauk - never seen anything like it. Or Viv Richards arrogance/ confidence/ supreme skill. I've seen Greendige practise close catching - which was simply asking someone to wallop the ball and he'd stand about 10 metres away and try to catch it! Supermen whose fire extended beyond Babylon! They were not flawless - bowling beamers to Indian batsmen at Sabina Park was not kosher. Neither was Clyde Walcott walking to the boundary to waste time when India were within sight of victory in a test match in Bombay. But perfection is not what we seek - we are all flawed individuals. West Indies are still awe inspiring! Love them!

Posted by Erebus26 on (October 12, 2012, 11:10 GMT)

I agree that the Windies win in the T20 as welcomed and appreciated but why are Indians so infatuated with sledging? To me it's just a normal part of the game, and yes the Windies do it (I'm sure everybody noticed Samuels' 'conversation' with Warner and Watson in the semi-final and Ramdin's send off to Watson in the same game) but both Indian players and fans make so much of it. I think this epitomised in Kohli's outburst in one of the matches during India's tour of Australia and the amount of videos posted on youtube of 'sledging' when in fact a lot of them simply aren't that dramatic.

Posted by BingaGoesBang on (October 12, 2012, 11:09 GMT)

And what? West Indies player don't sledge? Yeah right.

Posted by BingaGoesBang on (October 12, 2012, 11:03 GMT)

I didn't enjoy their victory at all. And thought the dances were mealiness. It's not like they won the World Cup. Who in the world cares about T20? And then Sammy's attitude, oh no. "We can beat anyone" and blah blah blah.

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 11:00 GMT)

What a wonderful explanation Harsha!!!

Posted by Sinhaya on (October 12, 2012, 10:51 GMT)

West Indian cricketers are true gentlemen who are pure humble and my salutes to them.

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 10:45 GMT)

Agreed WI didnt sledge. But then same applies to Sri Lankans also. Whenever Malinga is hit for a boundary, we never see him taunting or abusing the batsman- he just walks back to his mark with a smile on his face. I guess we could say that two teams comprising of the best sportsmen in the game met in the final. What more could a cricket fan ask for?

Posted by mm71 on (October 12, 2012, 10:41 GMT)

@Smith Robertson, Buddy, it maybe just 7 countries, but the population of these countries hardly follow anything else. I would take just the South Asian countries. Between India, SL, Pak, Afghanistan & Bandladesh, we are talking of a sport following in excess of 1.7 billion people, not counting the followers in Eng, Aus, SA, WI & other countries. Please let me know which sport in the world, other than football has this kind of following? Am I bothered that Slovenia, Vanatu, Vatican City, Brunei, Panama, Bosnia, et al dont play cricket? Of course not.

Posted by Clyde on (October 12, 2012, 10:36 GMT)

The whole world needs the trust and honesty outlined by Bogle. Let it spread.

Posted by Chittappi on (October 12, 2012, 10:27 GMT)

"... like when a much-loved relative returns". Loved that expression. You're my favorite, man! Sometimes I don't know if I like the India team or the WI team more.

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 10:04 GMT)

i am sri lankan, even tho it was disappointing to lose to west indies...west indies was only team I would have wanted sri lanka to lose against...they play the game like it should be played...as gentlemen....CONGRATS Darren Sammy and Co....

Posted by Rakiraghu on (October 12, 2012, 9:58 GMT)

you compared west indies with federer, right on mark we love fed, dravid ,sachin,laxman,lara sevaral of those types for thier behaviour on field and especially you for your unbiased and from da heart commentry. we miss you hosting pre and post match shows

Posted by cricspeak on (October 12, 2012, 9:54 GMT)

The world is ruled more by perception than reality...THANKS HARSHA...i got my bread for the day!

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 9:54 GMT)

West Indies isn't even a country though in fact I checked the 200+ countries in our World Map and the name West Indies doesn't even exist so technically only 7 countries of more than 200 play Cricket some popular sport :D

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 9:54 GMT)

I loved reading this piece, typical Harsha.., being a great fan of Lankan cricket, watched almost all the matches in the grounds, but it didn't hurt me seeing the Lankans losing the game as much as it did when we lost the WC in 2011... it's only because it's Indies we were losing to, amazingly there was so much of cheer and support in Sri Lanka, Lankans really enjoyed their win later including me, hope they will be consistent and give us more to enjoy Cricket.

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 9:45 GMT)

As to the present team, absolutely correct. But as against the team of 80s & early 90s, horribly wrong. Their bowlers smelled batsmen's blood during those days. But now, their team has been converted into a new bunch of enthusiastic, courageous, energetic and polite bunch of people. Kudos to the Caribbeans.

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 9:42 GMT)

"Mikey Holding laughed it off when I asked him, saying, "We didn't need to"

Haha. Reminds me of Fire in Babylon where Holding says that their bowlers could bowl quick enough to kill the opposition (and then smiles wryly)

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 9:41 GMT)

Wow, Cheers Harsha. I did not expect this article but it came in a right time. If not India, it has to be West Indies that was my thought too. I love West Indian players and luckily i was living there for 3 years. What a great place to live.

Posted by nitinkarne on (October 12, 2012, 9:34 GMT)

I personally enjoyed the game of Wes Indian. I never seen any emotion on Gayle's face before T20 cricket and now he looks happiest person on the earth.

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 9:28 GMT)

Nicely written - everyone's 2nd favorite team. And for some us, regardless of colour - their favorite!

Posted by Trapper439 on (October 12, 2012, 9:18 GMT)

@EngineerKhan: In your second sentence you say that "Great players are liked by everyone" and yet you go on to say that "everyone hates Australia"... Those two statements are only logically compatible if you believe that Australia has never had great players. You managed to completely contradict your own argument in one extended paragraph. Well done. Why not just admit that you clearly dislike Australian cricketers?

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 9:01 GMT)

All the cricket fan will enjoy the success of Windies. They are the real hero's in cricket.

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 9:00 GMT)

Lovely article, Harsha.Reading it one felt those emotions coursing through one's veins!Though ,I mst say I thought Gayle's antics were a bit overboard(must be because he was experiencing that" winning" feeling after a very long time! I was one of those rooting fervently for Windies to win.Not for them shenanigans like a different captain for the Toss. Serves Sri Lanka right,I say.

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 8:58 GMT)

Agree so much with Harsha! Well said. and rightly said.

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 8:57 GMT)

Nisala...I dont think Indians love WI because they beat Sri Lanka...I personally had slotted Sri Lanka as my 3rd fav team after Ind and WI. We love the Lankans (maybe a few dont but then thats political and politics and sports shouldnt be allowed to mix)... Harsha...my favorite commentator and cricket columnist...expected this column from you...I believe we also loved the WI win because most people love an underdog to win except when the underdog is playing your team!!!

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 8:56 GMT)

A lovely article - like the West Indies team, it made me smile!

Posted by Sackz on (October 12, 2012, 8:54 GMT)

True... We did love the fact that WI win the tournament. But, it is hard to believe that contemporary cricketers don't indulge in sledging irrespective of nationalities. I mean, apart from star players who don't need to, everyone else does it like its a moral obligation or like it was in their contract. Even if it were true.... there are some very visible exceptions in this tournament and in IPL wrt WI players. Well, I guess as long as they were abnormalities to their normal behavior, we need not judge them harshly...and may call them 'nice' for the time being. I will agree to that.

Posted by thebeardedblunder on (October 12, 2012, 8:46 GMT)

@braindead_rocker-well said, I agree. And well written Harsha, a nice article, but as for that comment about the English looking down on others! Come on old chap-that antiquated sentiment surely died out decades ago and is associated with the likes of Douglas Jardine and other pompous sorts of a bygone age.

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 8:42 GMT)

Good article because we all want West Indies cricket to thrive so we have kids from Caribbean something to look up to. I certainly didn't enjoy they way Sri Lanka lost because I thought Mahela was the best captain and he had West Indies in the palm of his hand and Lankans deserved to win until they started batting and I felt the pain of Sanga and Mahela who are two of the nicest ambassadors of the games and all the trials and tribulation of sL cricket board and Pakistan tour they deserved it more then any other team. It is good to remember good Indies team but if you ask Imran, Gavaskar and Kapil Indies were as friendly as Lille while he was bowling in Australia.

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 8:34 GMT)

"Yes, that is why we love them - because they play sport the way all of us would secretly love to."

Yes.... I was praying WI to won this Wt20 cup because to dance like them. After winning I danced with them in my living room....:)

Posted by Metro-ant on (October 12, 2012, 8:33 GMT)

Very well said Harsha, imagine a losing team getting a ticker tape parade as they did in 1961 in Melbourne. Richie Benaud the then Australian captain recommended to the ACB that the trophy be named after his opponent, the great Sir Frank Worell, even before the series ended. They revived interesting cricket down under in that series despite losing it. It was a brilliant display of attacking cricket. Kanhai, Sobers, Hunte, Wes Hall were some of the great contributors in that series for Calypso magic that was displayed. As cricket fans we all hope this will lift West Indies cricket to greater heights.

Posted by EngineerKhan on (October 12, 2012, 8:28 GMT)

Totally Agree. Great players are liked by everyone. I remember my grand ma praising Jayasuriya's onslaught against Chennai SuperKings in inagural IPL. In fact, she told about it to everyone. Great players always make people happy. Thatswhy everyone hates Australia and even Watson played so well, I dislike him as he sledges and goes beyond his limits in celebrating wickets.

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 8:27 GMT)

Also, it cheers me up to even read this article. :) :)

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 8:27 GMT)

This guy is a good Read. Wish he stops talking though

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 8:25 GMT)

Oh stop the pretense Harsha. Majority of India love the West Indians because they beat SL in the finals and there is no love lost between India and SL. Indians love Gayle that is true and almost the entire cricketing world does, but WI? If I'm not mistaken majority of Indians on cricinfo called WI minnows and an easy team when they lost to SL in the Super eights. They ridiculed WI when they toured and lost to India. I'm not saying Indians hate WI but their new found love is due to West Indies beating SL.

Posted by Amit_13 on (October 12, 2012, 8:22 GMT)

I think Harsha, island life also goes a long way in defining that attitude towards sport too. They have relaxed demeanour and "everything will be fine, its only a game" view. Sri Lanka have been the same (unsure if they are today). Music, celebration and expression seem to be big in their life. They aren't robotic / infected with corporate jibber jabber. The striking difference for me was India cried in joy when we won, they just had a good laugh. The Brazil of cricket perhaps?

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 8:19 GMT)

Well written Harsha!! I liked that Windies won because they played cricket happily and didnt care about anything else that happened. We are losing a lot of joy in sport because of so called professionalism. It is ok to be professional and all that but I feel, most teams are over doing it. The Windies are an exception and that is why I think everyone loves the fact that they won. Thanks for writing what I wanted to. :) :)

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 8:12 GMT)

Harsha, you rock! You are the Best...

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 8:06 GMT)

Windies is the Brazil of cricket, and Viv is Pele of cricket

Posted by gujratwalla on (October 12, 2012, 8:05 GMT)

A good article....we all love West Indies because they played cricket for enjoyment as well as for love of mankind.This was the difference.They love humankind more than the others and therefore you cannot help feeling happy for them because they make you happy!

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 7:45 GMT)

Well said Harsha! Now you can understand why Pakistanies love Balaji, Sir Sachin Tendulkar and Yousaf Pathan and dislike infact hate Virat Kohli, Guatam Ghambir and Yuvraj Singh.

Posted by vikkii on (October 12, 2012, 7:24 GMT)

Excellent article.. I always regret missing the west indian dominated era of cricket as i was born only in the 80's..

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 7:20 GMT)

They are most committed side in t-20. teams like India, Australia, England and many other take T-20 just for fun and as money constructor. Also they have players who suits more to this edition of game. Also as per the context of this years world cup their game is different from other. other teams like pakistan who heavily depends on their spin, team like sri lanks who depends on their home conditions, australia like two man army of watson n warner, Indians who have more concerns about winning hearts rather then matches, England recovering from KP's backslashes. people are fed up with these playing scenarios. They want change and WI brought that for them.

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 7:17 GMT)

Nt being critical as so many (including me!) like articles by Prof. Bhogle, bt this seems like way too much romanticising West Indies cricket to the extent tht a few off hand comnts has been made which need nt b thr in the first place. "..India because they seem to exercise power so visibly.." I thot this article is more abt players and I don't remember Indian players showing any kind of power excpt for some audacity shown by Saurav Dada durng hs hey days. Indian players hv always been timid to the extnt of being acused of being devoid of killer instinct. Bt if we are talking abt Jagmohan Dalmia or Sarad Pawar, then its a seprate issue altogthr. "..Sunil Gavaskar's description of the crowds thr in Sunny Days was probably an aberration.." Kill them, kill them shouts from crowds to Marshall, Roberts, Garner was a regular feature & Richards, Lloyd actualy intimidated..there ws a lot of slip chit-chat too!! I have yet to come across people who are overwhelmed by this unexpected WI win!!

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 7:06 GMT)

This time around people loved it because they thrashed the Aussies in the semi-finals. Also, they have all the ingredients of creating great T20 spectacle: four or five big hitters and a mystery spin bowler. And they delivered. In style.

Posted by MSU_BULLDOG on (October 12, 2012, 7:05 GMT)

Like everyone else I watched the games was happy for the WI when they won. Just to put things in perspective - they won the 20/20 WC which for me is the "lowest form of cricket". I am still old school and T20 does not do it for me. Things happen quickly in T20. Wins and losses are decided in a few of overs. WI cricket will be really revived if they can extend this success to ODIs and Tests where different aspects come into play. Good Luck WI.

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 7:00 GMT)

Great piece Mr. Bhogle. Well said.

Posted by BRUTALANALYST on (October 12, 2012, 6:42 GMT)

Next stop Lords ICC Champions Trophy

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 6:37 GMT)

My reason is simple. It was long long overdue.

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 6:34 GMT)

'Fun'tastic article. However, in the same vein, my heart would have ached if India were at the receiving end against the Windies in the finals!

Posted by PIETERFAN on (October 12, 2012, 6:28 GMT)

"When he said "Take my word", in 2006, it seemed much more acceptable than if a cricketer from another team said it." Tirade directed against Ricky Ponting...LOL

Posted by gmsjgmsj on (October 12, 2012, 6:27 GMT)

Well said Harsha! I remember from a Gavaskar's book that the great Windies bowlers Garner, Holding, Roberts and Marshall never sledged. All they did was to glare at the batsman if hit for a boundary..If at all, the next ball was 10mph faster!

More than their obvious enjoyment of the game, i think they stand out and reach out to all of us by combining their athletic grace with superior, but mellowed, intellectual skills in pursuance of sport... Yes, its just a sport even if played professionally!

Posted by AshishSanghvi on (October 12, 2012, 6:26 GMT)

Harsha Bhogle you are the best when it comes to analysing the hidden secrets of cricket and people attached to it. you wont beleive but i read it with your voice in my head. Yes we all love west indies because they are rising from the ashes with simplicity and true cricket sense.

Posted by karthick.11 on (October 12, 2012, 6:15 GMT)

because they play sport the way all of us would secretly love to...

Good one!

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 6:12 GMT)

its the real fact that when wi wins, the people all over the world who know little bit about cricket love them,just because they bring a kind of flare, a glamor filled up with the perfection and the essence of innocence. and the most likable part of them is,what ever they do,they do it in style,just like superstars..either it be their accent or their funny little thing that catches the eyes of the spectators and make us realize that there is something more in the game just than winning or losing.. and game should always be played in the spirit of sportsmanship rather than making it a kind of war filled up with rivalry and words for words .. and that is why i love this song,,Rally Round the west indies...

Posted by varunrallapalli on (October 12, 2012, 5:54 GMT)

Whatever Harsha Bhogle talks or writes, it strikes a chord with Sports buffs. It is indeed true that West Indian cricket has been a great ambassador for the Gentleman's Game tag, that has been assigned to cricket. They play hard and attacking cricket, but never sledge the opposition. In the just concluded T20 World cup as the semifinal lineup was confirmed everyone were betting against all odds for a West Indies win, as their winning will not only enhance their popularity back home,but it also gives immense joy for the general cricket fans allover the world.Everyone would be happier to see the rise of Windies now, after their freefall from domination in 70s and 80s. I hope that the success in the shortest format of cricket rubs off on other formats of the game as well. If West Indies can produce some world class performances with the existing team and climb the ladder of success and instill fear in the opposition ranks,then we will have a rosy future for the whole cricket in general.

Posted by som1212 on (October 12, 2012, 5:53 GMT)

Nice one!! sport is played with prejudice and perceptions build by history which should not happen ideally. West indies doesn't play for revenge like others. WI celebrate their own victory while others are more happy becoz they have beaten particular team.

Posted by kaushaljajoo on (October 12, 2012, 5:50 GMT)

hey harsha..wat a wonderful piece o writin agn..nice way to tell how d game spirit shud b and also touchin d socio-cultural side o it..thanks

Posted by lsnitin on (October 12, 2012, 5:50 GMT)

totally agree here!! i guess it makes us happy to watch the windies win because they do so with style and flair... and they seem to love playing the game and treat it like a sport rather than be weighed down by so called "professionalism"..

Posted by AtifSubhani on (October 12, 2012, 5:45 GMT)

Spot on Harsha. I m sure on the finals day, people all over (specially Pakistani's & Indians) wanted WI to win though they ld ve wanted to support SL. And if we look at the WI team in T20, it is one of the most balanced side. Gayle, Pollard, Samuels, Bravo, Sammy, Russel the big power hitters with Badree, Narine & Rampaul taking up responsibility of striking it well with the ball. Their victory ld certainly boost their confidence and whenever WI ld play now, even against bigger sides like Aus, SA or Eng, we wouldnt see a one sided affair. IPL may ve helped any other cricketer or not, but the West Indians ve taken full advantage of their participation in the big T20 event.

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 5:41 GMT)

True That, it was more joyful and fun to watch West Indies win.. Their Lively attitude, their cheerful nature and the way they celebrate each victory are really the moments worth watching. On their winning, i was like, out there, congratulating all those African natives in my city (in Delhi there are many). Hope they keep winning this way and bring joy to the world cricket.

Posted by venkatesh018 on (October 12, 2012, 5:09 GMT)

It is good to see the nice guys win for a change ! Long may it continue.....

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 4:59 GMT)

Joe C parathara I guess this was a well writtrn article...Maybe u can entertain us with a better article?If not please stop criticizing..!! At the hindsight even when WI used to rule the world , they were never brash... Their behaviour was always good and rather than sledging they performed...The trend of seemingly cordial and competent behaviour has been maintained by the present WI side and hence they have been lauded by everyone..!!

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 4:59 GMT)

As you have said there must be many reasons and not just one why the West Indies is so adored. One practical reason can be absence of influential socio-political relations. None of the cricket playing nation are neighbors of the WI, none have any significant political links. Suppose Florida were a cricket team playing international cricket, or even Mexico or Cuba their perception of the Caribbean could be markedly different from how we see it thousands of kilometers away here in India or elsewhere... This is not to undermine what you have said, because we all know what you have mentioned is true.

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 4:57 GMT)

Harsh u r real genius we love cricket. i think people didn't celebrate this much if any other team win the world cup. Go windies Go!!!!!!!!!!!! future is waiting for u

Posted by SivaSurapaneni on (October 12, 2012, 4:53 GMT)

I enjoyed the article a lot Harsha. It sounded like you are giving a perfect voice to what exactly is there in our mind / what we have been thinking.

Posted by BlueCat on (October 12, 2012, 4:52 GMT)

The day before the world T20 finals I got the opportunity to watch "fire in babylon". Those were the good old days of pure passionate cricket with unmatched passion and zeal for the game of cricket. They called it "calypso cricket", we don't get to see that kind of cricket now a days. But this west indian win was a much awaited event on the world stage, and I just hope that we get to see more of the same old west indian cricket in coming days. Being a fan of of west indian cricket since childhood I just hope this wish of mine comes true in coming days. Hats off to Sammy and co. for the fabulous win.

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 4:46 GMT)

I dont really understand the racism connect here. Caribbeans in general are jolly good lovable people who love to live life to the full. They only friends and no enemies. So when they do well there is nobody who would hold grudges.

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 4:45 GMT)

I totally agree. I love reading his articles. WI deserves more wins especially if WI is not playing against India :)

Posted by Nadeem1976 on (October 12, 2012, 4:41 GMT)

WI team was underdog coming into this WC. They used their IPL experience and won the WC. Indian fans love IPL and they are appreciating the effect of IPL on T2020 as a whole. I had great hopes from WI and SA teams in this WC and WI won it so i am happy. Sri Lanka did not win because they play Test cricket in T2020. WI showed the flair and Sri lanka did not. Only WI and NZ showed us in this WC how to play T2020 cricket. Also every body wants old WI of 80's to come back and try to dominate again. It's good for cricket that WI won it.

Posted by PurushothamanSrinivasan on (October 12, 2012, 4:31 GMT)

Yes Harsha,,,I really wanted the WI to win.1st reason is that i just love Gayle, Samuels, those two guys rock,,their attitude their game.. i can go on and on about them. 2nd reason i think they played aggressive cricket and have a very good t20 and ODI team. And this is indeed a much better WI team that i have seen for the last 15 years i guess.

Posted by Webba84 on (October 12, 2012, 4:23 GMT)

@Joe - Harsha does indeed write like he talks, with professionalism, dignity, insight and enthusiasm. Fluency is overrated, generally by close minded, petty people who cant bear to think anything good of people who are demonstrably more successful than they are.

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 4:11 GMT)

Good article Harsha and absolutely true.I am very happy deep from my heart for the WI teams win as an Indian cricket fan.I wish them all th best and get back those golden days of cricket which had all those WI legends.I am sick of seeing current cricket teams excluding WI and the manner which they play.Aus,Ind,Pak,SL,Ban topping among the teams which lack sportsmanship and most of their fans being worst and arrogant ,discussing politics in a cricket forums.Its good to see Aus back to point 0 after retirements of some of ther so called "greats" and now India and England.All of this kept aside well done WI and pls dominate again as your team deserves it.

Posted by Sugath on (October 12, 2012, 4:06 GMT)

Harsha, you talk about England, Aussies, India and Pakistan, but how come not a word about Sri Lanka?

Posted by braindead_rocker on (October 12, 2012, 4:05 GMT)

This is a good article though I am not sure about the racism part. This white man, black man, brown man days are over. We have surely come a long way from that.

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 3:49 GMT)

Great article. Captured the topic in style. I couldn't agree more. We all love West Indies' win simply because the place the spirit of the game over winning. People in every sphere of life have a lot to learn from this. I personally feel bad every time West Indies loose, except when they are playing against India!! Bit surprised not to see mention of Courtney Walsh in this article. To my mind he is a great example of what cricket in West Indies stands for...

Posted by AjaySridharan on (October 12, 2012, 3:29 GMT)

What is spontaneous is genuine, and what is genuine is spontaneous. People respond to that positively. It's the same reason why kids are endearing. In the WI team you can see that tinge of innocence we all wish we retained...that inner child. I too hope they win more often, and bring back some badass fast bowlers.

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 3:12 GMT)

Harsha bhogle writes like he talks. His writing is not fluent at all.

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 3:10 GMT)

I'm a hardcore SL fan & with all those finals and losing them was really painful except for this time .Even before the game begins corner of my heart wanted Westindies (or SA) to win the final .

Sri Lanka always come back from the bottom of the barrel - harder you hit stronger they get & the WI win will help the cricket world more then we winning it (or india - pak)

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Harsha BhogleClose
Harsha Bhogle Harsha Bhogle is one of the world's leading cricket commentators. Starting off as a chemical engineer and going on to work in advertising before moving into television, he is also a writer, quiz host, television presenter and talk-show host, and a corporate motivational speaker. He was voted Cricinfo readers' "favourite cricket commentator" in a poll in 2008, and one of his proudest possessions is a photograph of a group of spectators in Pakistan holding a banner that said "Harsha Bhogle Fan Club". He has commentated on nearly 100 Tests and more than 400 ODIs.

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